All posts by Judith Greenaway

Judith is a Sydney theatre worker who was ‘born in a trunk’. With a lifelong passion for all performing arts, she has turned her hand to many jobs in film, TV and live theatre. Ranging from earning pocket money for trimming the back legs off tables, so they sat flat on raked stages to owning her own touring theatre company. A lighting designer by trade, Judith experiences performances with a technical eye and an understanding of the jobbing actor and the theatrical bedrock which supports them. She has a strong belief in legacy and teaches lighting, sound and stage management to help kickstart the careers of the next generation. She is also working on her PhD studies which will support classroom teachers to keep young theatre workers safe. For readers with technical interest, Judith’s blog is at http://sydneylivetheatretechnicalnotes.blogspot.com.au/

5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE @ GLEN STREET : A FLUFFY CONFECTION

5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE … good title! As they say. And truth in advertising. There are lesbians, five in fact, and there is a quiche. More than one actually. Plus there is a disturbingly excitable female cast, a ludicrous number of egg references and some extraordinarily silly language- reclamation of the ‘L’ word.

The Susan B Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein is a group of mid 1950s widows who meet to honour their founder who was lost, hungry and butch when she stumbled into a bunch of wild chickens whose eggs sustained her in some peculiar ritualistic, emotive, gynocentric kind of way.

Yeah, even typing that is weird. So … anyway: they have an annual sacred quiche competition to honour the egg, the ovum, the pre-chicken dinner. Apparently we, the audience, have submitted a quiche for judgement too. But the threat of nuclear war is putting a damper on the hijinks. The red menace looms like against- the-rules meat in a quiche. Continue reading 5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE @ GLEN STREET : A FLUFFY CONFECTION

JACINTEGRATING WITH JACINTA GREGORY @ THE FACTORY

Jacintergrating is … um… Entertainavating!  

Jacinta Gregory has constructed an entertaining show full of carefully balanced variety, terrific singing with great music and loads of promise.  Beginning with a very well penned, funny yet sort of sad, opening song about Gregory’s depression and ending with a full downer ballad about her struggles, the show has Gregory’s singing and original material at its centre.

And she writes really well.  The songs, short and snappy in the main, have a wistful ring beneath their wry look at life. It’s light with an occasional hint of something deeper but not taking itself too seriously.  There is no shortage of satire either.  Getting an audience on her side to singalong with a racist ditty about nationalism was really clever.   Continue reading JACINTEGRATING WITH JACINTA GREGORY @ THE FACTORY

SYDNEY MARDI GRAS PARADE 2017 : A GREAT CELEBRATION

Being in the Mardi Gras Parade?  One word … chafing.  Maybe too words … sore feet.  Possibly three words… rain and drizzle.

So why do it?

This is what my photographer friend and I set out to explore in the 3 hours we were wandering in the float assembly area before the off.  I know why I do it.  Despite the weather, forgetting the very tender balls of my feet this morning and in spite of a wet weather plastic uniform which would simply not behave and stay away from exposed skin!  I march with the SES because it is an inclusive organisation that welcomes all people and who helps anyone in the community who needs us. Continue reading SYDNEY MARDI GRAS PARADE 2017 : A GREAT CELEBRATION

BELL SHAKESPEARE PRESENTS ‘RICHARD III @ THE PLAYHOUSE

 

Kate Mulvany IS Shakespeare’s Richard III. No need to read any further. Get your hands on a ticket now as they will become collectors’ items and in 5, 10, 20 years’ time when people speak of Mulvany’s performance, and they will, you will want to say you were there. Bell Shakespeare and Kate Mulvany bring RICHARD III spine- tinglingly alive at the Sydney Opera House.

Why Shakespeare’s Richard III? Since his carpark exhumation from the remains of Leicester’s Greyfriars Church in August 2012, the legacy reconstruction of the last king of the House of York, last of the Plantagenet dynasty is part of the zeitgeist. That man is not Shakespeare’s man. When he wrote it, Will was an early-career, jobbing actor and writer: politically and financially bound to sponsors. Sponsors like the Stanley Family who appear to great credit in a play designed to flatter one reputation by destruction of another.

In this 400 year old text, the Duke, Protector, King thereafter who must be brought to life is physically ‘misshapen’ and emotionally driven to ‘stand upon the hazard of the die’. Mulvany and Director Peter Evans have interrogated this, the second longest of the canon, and found in it the caustic humour and the slimy charm that allows real insight into the mind of this villain. Without the blood and gore implied and with delicious licence to secretly enjoy the malicious machinations of the unreconstructed Richard. Continue reading BELL SHAKESPEARE PRESENTS ‘RICHARD III @ THE PLAYHOUSE

FAIRLY LUCID THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘MEMBER’ @ BLOOD MOON THEATRE

 

Since 472 BC when Aeschylus created dialogue by adding ‘the antagonist’ to what had only been chorus and ‘the protagonist’, theatrical representations of human impulses have most often been expressed as discussion.

MEMBER has only one man on stage. He is protagonist and antagonist, speaker and listener, inner thought and outward expression. There is, however, further discussion taking place behind him in the shadows of the tiny black stage, where a clamour of voices has contributed to this extraordinary work. Artists, common people and the recounting of those involved are all alive in the yellowing spotlights.

And in the tinny bip of heart rate monitor which assaults in the darkness to open the show. Continue reading FAIRLY LUCID THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘MEMBER’ @ BLOOD MOON THEATRE

MARK LANGHAM’S ‘BIG CROW’ @ ACTORS PULSE THEATRE REDFERN

Sometimes it’s so nice to just sit in an intimate theatre to feel a show rather than just watch and hear. BIG CROW is certainly intimate. You are close to the cast, almost stepping over a dying boy as you enter. And it’s a narrow story with characters who are in a situation of their own devising.

Tommy and Albie accepted a spur of the minute trip from London to Australia. A big move for the 1930’s but any promise of the good life has been sucked out of the boys by Roy, a farmer who talked them into working for him in the middle of nowhere and has treated them very badly. They decide on revenge and attack Roy bent on killing him. Roy appears not to have treated anyone of his acquaintance well. His wife and daughter happen upon the scene and are content to watch rather than intervene. Continue reading MARK LANGHAM’S ‘BIG CROW’ @ ACTORS PULSE THEATRE REDFERN

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY : A MARVELLOUSLY COHESIVE PRODUCTION BY SIREN THEATRE COMPANY

Nothing is as it seems in THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. From the obscuring haze of thick smoke as we enter the theatre to the delicately constructed dance of death that concludes the work, people and events are viewed through a glass darkly. A mirror, a lens, a dirty window pane perhaps. There is an obstinate obfuscation in Lachlan Philpott’s text and Director Kate Gaul has successfully pulled the story from the page without exposing it to the full light. Like the magnesium flashpowder of the antique photographer’s T which will give light to a sepia photograph, there are puffs of understanding dispersed in a stillness of wondering.

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY is a highly theatrical interpretation of a true story. Harry Crawford was arrested in July 1920 for the October 1917 murder of his wife, Annie. Her charred remains had been found near the Lane Cove River at Chatswood where she and Harry had been picnicking. When taken to the police station, Harry asked to be taken to the female cells and it was revealed that he was in fact Eugenia Falleni, assigned female at birth. Harry had been living as cisgender man since he had run away to sea as a very young person.

The image on Siren CT’s poster is from the Historic Houses Trust held mugshot and there have been exhibitions and articles, books and podcasts about the case in our own time. But it is the morbid curiosity, malice and prurient interest of the public at the time of Harry’s trial that allows us so many records about the case. Continue reading THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY : A MARVELLOUSLY COHESIVE PRODUCTION BY SIREN THEATRE COMPANY

JESS SCOTT DRIKSNA’S ‘MAKING LOVE’ : A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE?!

Most Sydney theatres have something running to support the LGBTQI community during Mardi Gras.  Gone are the days when it was about grasping for the pink or lavender dollar, the offerings these days are genuine attempts to tell stories which put the gay and lesbian community on stage with dignity and acceptance.  MAKING LOVE does that in spades.  The story may have a heterosexual story as the plot driver but love is the theme.  Whoever you love.  

It’s the future.  One can buy abiding love if you are as rich and successful as Sara is.  Sara is nervous.  She has purchased or designed or created or customised (euphemisms abound and there is an evident nomenclature war for acceptance) a synthetic companion D’Arcy.  D’Arcy is being delivered with the support of a PAXCORP representative, Mitchell and his synthetic partner Hercules.  It’s all a bit comfy until Jackson, an old flame, unexpectedly bursts in and skews the dynamic.  There is also a truth game invented by Hercules which threatens the harmony. Continue reading JESS SCOTT DRIKSNA’S ‘MAKING LOVE’ : A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE?!

TROP JNR 2017 : OUR YOUNG FILMMAKERS SHOW PLENTY OF PROMISE

Mums and Dads were highest on the thank you lists from the participants for TROP JNR this year and the audience was certainly filled with siblings and adults rooting for their films.

TROP JR is part of TROPFEST and has been running side by side since 2008. Modelled on the world’s largest short film festival, TROPFEST,  TROP JR is a short filmmaking competition and a free, outdoor festival for kids aged 15 years and younger.  Each year there is a ‘signature item’ which needs to be included. This year was it was ‘mask’.

TROPFEST moved from Centennial Park to Parramatta Park this year but the weather was not co-operating. To keep the kids safe in the extreme heat, the organizers moved events to a cinema and everyone I spoke to was incredibly relieved to be settled into the air con. Some of the tiniest supporters may have missed having a run in wide open spaces but the rest of us settled back to see these remarkable young filmmakers’ work. Continue reading TROP JNR 2017 : OUR YOUNG FILMMAKERS SHOW PLENTY OF PROMISE

TAPESTRY: THE SONGS OF CAROLE KING with Debra Byrne and Vika Bull.

Photography by Ros O’Gorman.

Without confirming or denying whether I might have been involved, I can report that there was a kind of geriatric mosh pit for the finale of TAPESTRY: THE SONGS OF CAROLE KING with Debra Byrne and Vika Bull. I can also report that the encores were played to standing audiences and that the roof was raised. It was a marvellous concert. Wonderful songs that have stood the test of time and voices to soothe the savage beast of some very hot and cross looking audience members on a 43 degree day.

Byrne and Bull hit the stage bare footed. You know it’s going to be good when artists want the freedom to move easily or plant their feet and belt. WAY OVER YONDER begins and the voices fill the room and wrap around us before the power of a yearning bass guitar sneaks in. Calm descends and “true peace of mind” is sweet and longing as the artists swap leads back and forth.

Their blend is just lovely, Bull with those magnificent top notes deliciously combining with Byrne’s rich, full lower notes. The crowd went nuts about this time, and it didn’t let up through I FEEL THE EARTH MOVE when the seating started to shake with the audience’s rhythmic nod-along.

Byrne and Bull spoke often to the audience, explaining their joy in celebrating with us the work of Carole King, about the history of the album and titbits concerning their relationship with the songs. Bull was five years old when TAPESTRY came out. But Byrne, like the older women and slightly fewer older men who made up most of the crowd, found that for every life experience, King had written a song. As the singer explained , they couldn’t do them all but they gave it a bloody good try.

The Brill band, named for the iconic building associated with Carole King and explored in the BRILL BUILDING LEGENDS recording series, are lovely in support but the night belongs to the two women. And their moves.

Byrne has lost none of her YOUNG TALENT TIME dance skills. She glides and stomps and taps around the stage yet the highlight of the night for me was the two of them on stools: still and soulful. Seated downstage centre for YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND the voices melded in the sheer joy of wonderful piano orchestration and the love of expressing emotion. Goosebumps! TAPESTRY was also superb as they stood together in that downstage area, arms around each other in a soft amber light.

Everyone seemed to have their favourites. The band would give the first few bars of any intro and a cheer would go up somewhere. Byrne and Bull rollicked or gently meandered through I THINK I CAN HEAR YOU; SMACKWATER JACK; BEAUTIFUL; GOING BACK and heaps more.

Second favourite? COME DOWN EASY with Bull’s unparalleled harmonics, and featuring only bongos and triangle behind Byrne’s soulful rendition. No wonder I was out of my seat for the encores. Oops!

TAPESTRY: THE SONGS OF CAROLE KING, with Debra Byrne and Vika Bull, was performed for one night only, Friday 10th February at the Enmore Theatre.

 

THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED : WIT AND LAUGHTER @ THE NEW

THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED is such fun.

If you are a lover of rapid fire witticisms, frequent bon mots or bitchily wry observations you are in for a treat. There is luscious dialogue rich with contrapuntal adjectives in a very funny script. This New Theatre’s production is well realised with a nice balance of meaningless fluff and fluffy meaningfulness. Not too heavy, not too light, just all round enjoyable.

Mitchell is an up and coming movie star. Diane is his vociferous agent and wannabe producer. Alex is a men’s escort. Ellen is Alex’s love interest. In the beginning anyway.

Mitchell, who is seriously pissed in a hotel room, hires Alex. Things do not go well initially but in the morning there is the distinct whiff of a disastrous amour fou. Diane will need to balance bedings with the bravura public performances keeping Mitchell’s sexual orientation firmly cupboard-locked. She gets it: she’s a fixer … and a lesbian …so rely on her to get things done. Ellen is a party girl and knows what it means to be dumped, still this is a new one even for her. Continue reading THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED : WIT AND LAUGHTER @ THE NEW

DOGFIGHT : ANOTHER OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION BY BLACKOUT THEATRE COMPANY

Blackout Theatre is kicking ass and taking names at Lend Lease Theatre in the Darling Quarter.

Add my name to the list: the list of supporters and advocates for this kick-ass community theatre and the list of audience members who absolutely loved DOGFIGHT on its opening night.

DOGFIGHT is a musical set in San Francisco, November 21st 1963 as the Vietnam War rages and Haight Ashbury is attracting the ‘love not hate’ unwashed . It was written with hindsight in the early part of the second decade of this century by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, known together as Pasek and Paul, who won the Golden Globe and have been nominated for an Oscar for LA LA LAND. It did not wow at the time.

Here are some names for you: Derek Klena; Lindsay Mendez. They were in the original production. DOGFIGHT had a very successful season at the Hayes in 2015 but this is DOGFIGHT’s Australian amateur premier. Continue reading DOGFIGHT : ANOTHER OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION BY BLACKOUT THEATRE COMPANY

ATYP PRESENTS ‘INTERSECTION ‘ @ STUDIO 1

If INTERSECTION is any indication of the professionalism, focus and commitment of the next generation of performing artists then the art is in a pretty good state. From 15 -24 years, these nineteen actors have my complete admiration for their unwavering composure as they brought to life the 10 short plays in the 90 minute production. I attended a matinee … it was viciously hot; patrons were reluctantly and unavoidably noisily leaving because of the swelter; there was a somewhat drunken, very loud party going on outside and yet not one performer short- changed their audience.

Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) has a few generations of experience behind them and is well known for their facilitation and creation of new works. INTERSECTION is one such. ATYP supports a diverse range of Youth Theatre activities including the annual National Studio where they work with young and emerging writers for youth. Continue reading ATYP PRESENTS ‘INTERSECTION ‘ @ STUDIO 1

GENERAL PUBLIC THEATRE COMPANY FUNDRAISER @ PACT

What’s the right stuff for a small theatre company to succeed in such a crowded Sydney performance scene? Drive, nous, commitment and a unique take on what will strike a chord with audiences? The General Public Theatre Company seems to have all of this. They have shows on and on the go. They post with a strong social media presence to a loyal and growing following who have contributed to their Pozible campaign. They have been together long enough… since 2014. Solid so far. But more important to my appreciation of their outsider’s take, they are women. Young, unique and creative women. Queensland women. One of them is an alumnus of my own Townsville Alma Mater. Being an, albeit transplanted, creative Queenslander myself I took some cockroaches with me to see what we thought of their Double Bill last night

Pretty damn good stuff.

EUROPE WON’T FIX YOU is a humorous take on that great rite of passage, the OS trip. Alternate reality smacks straight into actual reality and the cast of 5 interchangeable mid-twenty year olds have some decidedly disturbing experiences. A nasty Paris ‘canard’ moment, a cleansing German hostel encounter and an anti-stodge veggie craving with all kinds of not going to happen. Continue reading GENERAL PUBLIC THEATRE COMPANY FUNDRAISER @ PACT

MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCH

Diversity within the LGBTIQ community? Search no further than the 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival program. Curated by Queer Screen, the range of topics and genres is truly impressive.

At the season launch last night, Queer Screen’s President Lisa Rose spoke about their mission to provide a “celebration of queer storytelling on screen”. Inclusive, respectful stories full of creativity, inspiration and pride.

There are big big films and there are small big films and everything in between. Like MOONLIGHT  which has just been nominated in several categories including Best Picture for the 2017 Oscars. There is singalong, a smellovison 3 D FINDING DORY for the rainbow family and even mystery movie plus more superb international and home-grown documentaries, dramas, romances etc than you can poke a glitter wand at.

Then there are the shorts. Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Asia/Pacific shorts all have showings and if this doesn’t suit there is even an evening of Mixed Shorts. Continue reading MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCH

DON’T CALL ME SON

DON’T CALL ME SON is an intimate film. The story, the characters, the setting … all personal.  The filmmaking… close-up and exclusive of clutter in dialogue, plot and technique.  One of the films chosen for Queer Screen’s 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival, this offering from Brazil, subtitled from the Portuguese, has been on the Festival Circuit since its premier at the Berlin Film Festival in February last year.  At that event it won the Teddy which Berlinale’s site calls ‘the most outstanding queer film prize in the world’.  It was in Australia for last year’s Melbourne Film Festival and has been selected for 20 Festivals from Transatlantyk to Ljubljana.

True to the intimacy which pervades the film, the film’s protagonist is in tight shot as we follow him through a party before the credits. The colours pulse blue and sexy, the music thumps distantly and he is wearing a confusingly closely feathered bird headpiece.  He accepts an intimate hug from a male partner and a deep kiss from a female dancer.  Then the realism sets in.  Suddenly he and the girl are having sex in a starkly white, brightly lit bathroom.  As the camera tilts down from the activity it is clear that he is wearing lacy female underwear. Continue reading DON’T CALL ME SON

FORM DANCE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘CHAMPIONS’ @ CARRIAGEWORKS

Production photography by Heidrun Lohr.

CHAMPIONS is a stonkingly good dance work … with the common touch.

It’s a large scale work with 11 dancers filling a field of dreams inside the vast space and it begins like any large scale sporting event with the team captain interview.  Sports presenter, Mel McLaughlin, well known to viewers as one of the anchors of Seven’s Olympic coverage, is on the screen wall which dominates the upstage area of the arena.  She is interviewing Carlee Mellow and we get a team update on the selections for today’s match.

Pre-game, a suitably comic and silly swan mascot has entertained the large and vocal crowd to a pounding pizzicato on the soundtrack and the audience is ready for the action.  At interval she reappears in a circular lake of light … I loved that! There are cheers and claps as the players wander on with their yoga mats to warm up.  In the same way that everyone’s a sports fan during the Olympics, this work begins with expert coverage to inform and guide us.  Mellow and McLaughlin go through each dancer stats, temperament and what they bring to the line-up while a manufactured playing, smiling, concentrating image of each woman fills the screen. Continue reading FORM DANCE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘CHAMPIONS’ @ CARRIAGEWORKS

URBAN THEATRE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘HOME COUNTRY’

As the wafting smoke from the Welcome to Country drifts through the audience it seems to help me focus. It envelops so that the traffic speeding past seems distant. The smoke is pungent and yet soothing. It heightens my senses and increases my receptivity, yet several times during HOME COUNTRY I find little moments of wondering why I feel … whatever it is I am feeling.

HOME COUNTRY is the latest work from Urban Theatre Projects with Blacktown Arts Centre as part of the Sydney Festival. It is staged in Blacktown; it has three stories in a multi-storey carpark; it has a culturally diverse creative team of, writers, musicians, advisors, designers. But it is the actors who do the job here. They are a wonderful cast.

The first characters we meet are from the story BLACKTOWN ANGELS (Andrea James). Angel (Shakira Clanton) has been guarding the audience for quite a while, perched over us on the edge of one of the car park levels. What a presence this actor has. And then she begins to sing. What a voice! The words are unfamiliar but so beautifully rendered to be as enveloping as that smoke. Continue reading URBAN THEATRE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘HOME COUNTRY’

TIPPING POINT @ THE SPAGHETTI CIRCUS BIG TOP PARRAMATTA

Ockham’s Razor is a London based performance company who are back for the Sydney Festival. Patrons who saw them in 2014 will have some idea what to expect, though this is a very different show. The philosophical concept Ockham’s Razor is often minimalised to … the simplest answer is probably true. But more interestingly it originally translated as something like … to solve a problem don’t allow too many options. This influential and internationally recognised company have most certainly taken that advice to heart. Continue reading TIPPING POINT @ THE SPAGHETTI CIRCUS BIG TOP PARRAMATTA

A MILLION HAPPY NOWS

It’s often said that the opening credits of a film tell the story.  A MILLION HAPPY NOWS begins with a short journey through a glare filled  garden of jagged branches into an indistinct  washed out, white walled home through a room in chaos to a terrible fear associated with the precipice-like drop from a balcony.   

The traveller under the credit roll is Eva Morales (Jessica Leccia) but she is not the only voyager of the film.  Her partner is Lainey Allen (Crystal Chappell), a woman of a certain age, a Soap Opera TV star, the winner of an Emmy and a woman with secrets.  Not just the ten year love story between she and Eva but her secret fear that there is a looming health crisis.  The bright lights and sudden flashes of the ever-present cameras worry her, lines are not “sticking” and names and recent events seem to be lost.  Lainey suddenly quits a 20 year career and moves with Eva to the isolation of a house above a beach and a small town.

Playing as part of Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival, this film is a labour of love and it’s there in every frame and every word.  Written by Marisa Calin, actress and writer… she is the author of the respected YA novel BETWEEN YOU AND ME… it is a story close to home.  Calin’s grandmother suffers from Alzheimer’s and she created the production company Perfect Pictures in 2014 to ensure the story was told. Continue reading A MILLION HAPPY NOWS

CHECK IT : SCREENING AS PART OF THIS YEAR’S MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL

You know you have been teaching too long when edu-speak is pounding in your head.  Resilience – it’s been a pedagogic catch cry for a decade or so and it’s there front and centre of my mind as I watch CHECK IT, a film for the Queer Screen curated Mardi Gras Film Festival.

How do these young people survive?  They are the product of generations of drug affected parents, they live in a city with one of the highest rates of violence against LGBTQ people, they have no experience of education or mainstream employment yet this significant documentary exists to showcase their resilience, sense of community and seeks to empower their prospects. Continue reading CHECK IT : SCREENING AS PART OF THIS YEAR’S MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL

CANADA’S CIRQUE ELOIZE PRESENTS ‘iD’ @ RIVERSIDE THEATRES PARRAMATTA

The old timers, especially flyers, often talk about it. So do the trap catchers, slack and tight walkers even modern aerialists on silks and rings and Chinese poles. They will tell you about the people with terminal illnesses who seek them out after a show. Who thank them for confronting the unknown beyond, for staring mortality down. iD, from Canada’s Cirque Éloize as part of the Sydney Festival, is vibrant and exciting, thrilling and skilful. It’s fantastically entertaining fun but the finale is that rare moment when the physical gives way to the spiritual. When human beings are suspended for just that second of time between corporeal and divine. Continue reading CANADA’S CIRQUE ELOIZE PRESENTS ‘iD’ @ RIVERSIDE THEATRES PARRAMATTA

HAKAWATI @ EL PHONECIAN RESTAURANT PARRAMATTA

 

HAKAWATI is an Arabic word which translates to “teller of tales”. Stay with me now as, oddly, I quote Dolly Parton from Facebook in 2010 “My weaknesses have always been food and men – in that order”. Go Dolly!

Moving on. We all have our weaknesses and I also have food at the head of my own list. But next in line for me is stories… old, new, sad, uplifting, about my world, about other lives … I don’t have a preference. How intrigued was I then to hear about HAKAWATI, playing in Parramatta as part of the Sydney Festival!

Created and directed by Wayne Harrison this is an experience which is intimate and alive: the food is delicious and the storytelling expert. Continue reading HAKAWATI @ EL PHONECIAN RESTAURANT PARRAMATTA

THE SEASON @ THE DRAMA THEATRE, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Very early on in THE SEASON, daughter Lou thinks out loud that she might take herself diving to get a fresh fish dinner. It makes sense; 3 generations of Duncans are gathered on this small island in the Bass Strait for the annual Muttonbird harvest. But the whole family around the rickety table is suddenly still then turn slowly to look at her. There’s a pause until unexpectedly, the Duncans, and us, burst into gales of laughter at Lou’s expense. We the audience don’t know Lou, we just met her but we have been enveloped by this family and we think whatever is going on is hilarious too.

In a nutshell, or more appropriately a nest, that is the brilliance of THE SEASON. We love these people. And we love them from the beginning.

After the seven cast appear from the shadows upstage reaching towards the spirit of the birds which come each year to these traditional lands, we meet Ben and Stella Duncan. Long married but still lovers, their hopes for this season are tinged with some undefined worry but it won’t stop them from enjoying every moment of having the family together for the birding season. Continue reading THE SEASON @ THE DRAMA THEATRE, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

BRIEFS : THE SECOND COMING @ THE MERITON FESTIVAL VILLAGE

They describe part of their act as “boylesque” but these are not boys. BRIEFS: THE SECOND COMING are men, seven beautiful men with a substantial variety of maleness on display. Briefs aside and cleverly skirting the edge of what is legal (yet enough to please a sold-out crowd last night at the Magic Mirrors Speigletent in the Meriton Festival Village) there is nudity abounding.

Self-described in the Festival program as the “love child of RuPaul’s Drag Race and an Aussie version of Cirque du Soleil”, the extravaganza, opens with a fan dance. Pump up the jam on steroids! Opulent, clever, slick and decidedly sexy, in true burlesque style the ensemble of seven eventually rip down to their briefs. To the considerable approval of the hooting, cheering audience. Continue reading BRIEFS : THE SECOND COMING @ THE MERITON FESTIVAL VILLAGE